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Akwa Ibom Bags Three FG Awards for Sports Development

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The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports has honoured Akwa Ibom State with three awards for encouraging sports development in the country.

According to a report by THISDAY, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh said the awards were in the category of sports infrastructural development, sports development and best supporting state for the Super Eagles.

THe commissioner also said the awards were in recognition of the role the state played in recent times in providing sports infrastructure, grassroots sports development and providing the platform for the qualification of the Super Eagles for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.

“The awards were for the part the state has played in recent times towards sports development in Nigeria. You will recall that the Super Eagles qualified for the World Cup with a game to spare all thanks to the logistics support from the state government and football fans in the state during the qualifying matches in Uyo.

“You recall that for the first time match bonuses and other entitlements to the players and other logistics were not a problem for the team. The state government had a hand in that and that contributed to their seamless qualification.

“In sports development, you also recall that two teams from the state qualified for the finals of the FA Cup (AITEO Federation Cup) last year. Akwa United eventually won the male version while the female team lost on penalties to their Rivers State counterpart and this shows the level of inputs we have made in sports.

“We also hosted a nouvelle competition, the state’s Youth Sports Festival which was used to discover budding talents from the grassroots and that is a plus for total sports development not just football.

Akwa United is also representing the country in CAF Confederations Cup and that is courtesy of the level of funding of that club.

“In the area of sports infrastructure the Godswill Akpabio Stadium has continued to enjoy superior maintenance and provides the country with the best playing turf especially for the Super Eagles.

“In addition, we are continuing with the building of ten sports centres in the ten federal constituencies of the state and work on a new stadium for Eket city has started. That stadium will have an artificial turf so that our football clubs can also be accustomed on such turfs since most of the pitches they use outside Akwa Ibom are artificial,” he stressed

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SPORTS

Puel hopes Leicester can maintain ‘big club’ run

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Leicester City manager Claude Puel believes his side will be inspired by facing the Premier League’s top teams as they begin a tough run of fixtures. First up for the Foxes is a trip to league leaders Liverpool on Wednesday, with in-form Manchester United visiting the King Power Stadium on Sunday before Leicester travel to London for a match against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on February 10.

But French manager Puel is buoyed by the way Leicester beat both Chelsea and champions Manchester City during the Christmas holiday period, having drawn with Pep Guardiola’s men in the League Cup earlier in December before losing in a penalty shoot-out. “The three next games is a fantastic challenge for them,” said Puel of the task now awaiting Leicester. “We have shown we can perform against good teams, we have won games also against good teams.

I hope we can continue in this way.” Puel said the better the opponent, the better his side performed. “My players prefer to play against good teams like this and to show their level. It’s less pressure, they can give their best with freedom. In this situation we can create an upset. “We know the difficulty, and people outside think we can not have a chance to win a point, but we are confident because we showed a lot of qualities in the last games against big teams and great teams.

“I hope that we can have the possibility of winning against Liverpool, and then United at home. I hope we can create an upset,” he added. Leicester is currently ninth in the table, 12 points above the relegation zone, but if the 2015/16 Premier League champions are to press on they could do with ridding themselves of their recent habit of conceding early goals.

The Midlands club has been behind before 11 minutes were on the clock in each of their last three matches, going on to lose every time — including a shock defeat in the FA Cup by Newport County. “We have some difficulties to start our games and after we have to chase the game against strong defensive units then it is always difficult, since the beginning of the season,” said Puel.

“Sometimes we manage our game at the beginning and it is a good performance. The most important thing is to have the right intensity, focus and concentration for the beginning.”

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Nigeria student athlete expelled for not reciting national anthem

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A Nigerian female athlete Esther Edet has been expelled from the ongoing 19th Nigerian Colleges of Education Games (NICEGA) at the Federal College of Education, Obudu, Cross River State for not reciting the Nigeria national anthem.

It was reported that while students and other athletes were in the rendition of the national anthem, Edet refused to and got expelled from the ongoing competition.

“All participants must obey the rules and play by them. Any athlete who goes contrary to the regulations of the Games will be shown the way out. And that is why I am expelling this participant for her attitude and disposition when the national anthem was playing,” NICEGA president, Sanusi Mohammed said after expelling Edet.

Mohammed said such attitudes would not be permitted in a national sporting event.

He noted that Edet’s expulsion from the competition “will serve as a deterrent to others to always obey the rules of the game.”

Mohammed added that “sports have been described as a source of fostering peace and friendship, as well as transforming society through healthy competition.”

The Provost, Federal College of Education, Obudu, James Ejue, urge the athletes to abide by the rules.

“If you are a disciplined sportsman or woman, you must be a disciplined person who abhors violence, cheating, drug abuse and cultism. In this competition, there must be winners and losers,” Ejue said.

Nigeria’s education minister Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the vice chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu, said sports have always served as a tool for national unity.

“Sports from ancient times has always provided the right atmosphere through which people of all races, colours and tribes gather together to foster friendship, peace and unity as well as boost their economy because of the massive economic activities it generates,” Adamu said.

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Arsenal set to complete Denis Suarez deal

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Arsenal are set to complete the signing of Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez on loan.

The deal had stalled over Barcelona’s insistence to insert a compulsory purchase clause but with reports claiming the Spanish midfielder will sign a contract extension at Barcelona, a loan deal to Arsenal could be completed.

Suarez has struggled to make an impact at the Camp Nou, finding games hard to come by under Ernesto Valverde. He has made only eight appearances this season for Barcelona.

The 25 year old will hope to find his spark working again with Unai Emery, his former coach at Sevilla.

Arsenal also have hopes of signing Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic before the transfer window closes.

Suarez starred in Manchester City’s youth teams and made two League Cup appearances for City before he moved to Spain to join Barcelona B. He joined Sevilla on loan, then moved to Villarreal before a move to Barcelona.

According to reports, Suarez pleaded with Barcelona to join Arsenal despite interest from Sevilla and Real Betis, who were keen on a permanent deal.

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Super Falcons Lose Opening #AWCON18 Game To Banyana Banyana

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African Champions, the Super Falcons of Nigeria, have lost their opening group game at the ongoing 11th edition of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON18).

The Super Falcons were stunned 1-0 by Bayana Bayana of South Africa in their opening group B game on Sunday, following a late volley in the 86th minute by substitute Thembi Kgatlana.

The defeat means the Super Falcons have now lost their opening game of the AWCON for the first time. It also means the Banyana Banyana secured their second ever victory against the Super Falcons.

Meanwhile, Super Falcons, who won the competition in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2016, are searching for a ninth title alongside a ticket to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France.

The top three teams in Ghana, where the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations is taking place, will fly Africa’s flag in France next summer.

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